SWEDISH SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES NETWORK
of Human Geography, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Karlstad University:
address: Kulturgeografi/Fakulteten för samhälls-
och livsvetenskaper, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
Visiting address: Universitetsgatan 1, house 3A, 5th floor
Fax: +46 (0)54 700 14 63
Web site: http://www.sam.kau.se/geografi/
Professor Sune Berger, phone:
+46 (0)54 700 17 41
Professor: Gerhard Gustafsson,
phone: +46 (0)54 700 12 89
Research connected to South Asia:
Gerhard Gustafsson has
for many years been engaged in village studies, which is a broad type
of panel study. There is a comparative perspective involving changes
in village life in Sweden (Värmland) and the United States.
In this program he has been particularly engaged in a study of
three villages close to Varanasi, India, dealing with the changing nature
of lifeworld and farming system in village India. The starting point
was a study on the villages in the Chamaon Gram Sabha, carried out by
by Professor Rana P B Singh at the Banaras
Hindu University in 1977. These villages used
to be typical agricultural villages but have now become suburbs in terms
of economic activities. There are striking similarities in this development
with what has happened previously in rural Sweden and the United States.
Berger and others at the geography department
are now engaged in regional development studies in Sri Lanka, northern
and central provinces. This is done in a comparative perspective,
in which similar studies in Sweden serve as one vantage point.
Industrialisation and the development of tourism are focussed in
these studies. In October 2000 they organised a workshop in Colombo
on this theme.
Lejonhud (called Nina) defended
her dissertation on ”Indian Villages in Transformation – A
longitudinal study of three villages in Uttar Pradesh” on
Friday 13 June 2003. The thesis was based on research about Chamaon Gram
Sabha outside Varanasi (the villages mentioned above). Read
an abstract of the dissertation.
At the department there is a program for doctoral training of
Sri Lankan Ph D candidates from the University of Kelaniya and University
of Sri Jaywardenepura, Sri Lanka. A number of doctoral students
participate in the program, which is carried out in co-operation with
the universities of Uppsala and Göteborg, and is funded by Sida-SAREC.
There is an emphasis on poverty studies and regional development.
GIS (Geographical Information system) is used in the program.
students from Karlstad University have also been involved in the program
and there are plans to develop this further.
Collaboration with Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi
The department has been engagad in a long-term collaboration with the Banaras
Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India, not only in research (see
above) but also regarding education. More
information on Karlstad University´s education connected to South
Read also Lars Eklund’s report from the
Swedish Study Centre at Varanasi in March 2002.
Every Autumn Karlstad University and BHU offers 1014 duly
admitted students to the C/D-level courses (20 credits) in History
and Cultural Geography at Karlstad University
(if meeting basic requirements for studies in India), the opportunity
to spend 1015 weeks in Banaras (Varanasi). In India they study
languages (Hindi/Sanskrit), conduct individualized litterature and field
studies (related to their C/D thesis topics) under qualified supervision,
and participate in a joint BHU-Karlstad University seminar on the Multi-Cultural
Aspects of Banaras. More
information on Karlstad University’s India Programme.
several years Rana P.B.
Singh, Professor of Cultural
Geography at BHU (photo to the right) has been a visiting professor
at Karlstad University. He regularly holds seminars and workshops on topics like ”Sacred
and Ritual landscapes of Holy Cities of India”, and ”Changing
Indian Village”. As president of the
Indo-Nordic Cultural Association in Varanasi Prof. Singh has been
involved in organising various India Study programmes for both Karlstad
University and Copenhagen University. Since 1989 he has frequently visited
Scandinavia and worked as a Visiting Professor. He has also given
lectures at the universities of Lund, Göteborg, Uppsala, Stockholm, Copenhagen,
Aarhus, Åbo, Vasa, Oslo and Bergen. He has been involved in studying,
performing and promoting the heritage planning, eco-tourism and rural
studies and development in the Varanasi region for the last two decades,
as consultant, project director, collaborator and organiser. In research,
he combines the trilogy of historical process, cultural tradition and
environmental ethics to understand the people and landscape in India.
His publications include 33 volumes, and 150 research papers.
Together with Prof. Gerhard
Gustafsson, he also co-organised a panel on ”Spirit of
Place, Landscape and Place Ballet” in a conference on ”Space,
at Karlstad University in June 2006. At the 19th European
Conference of Modern South Asian Studies held in Leiden 2006,
he chaired a panel on ”Pilgrimage Landscape,
Cosmogram and Planning the Heritage Cities”.
(In 2004 Prof. Rana P.B. Singh he also participated in the 18th ECMSAS conference,
organised by SASNET in Lund. He convened Panel No 46 on ”Spirit
and Power of Sacred Places, and Preservation of Cultural Heritage”. More
information about the panel.)
In October 2008, Prof. Singh has been invited as a visiting faculty to the Dept. of Religious Studies and Theology at Göteborg University. During this stay, he has also been invited to give lectures at the universities in Karlstad, Falun, Lund and Copenhagen, including a seminar in Lund, jointly organised by SASNET and the Dept. of History and Anthropology of Religions, Lund University. More information.